If you are like most folks, the longer you live in one particular place the less likely you are to explore new things that are close by. It is just human nature to start to take where you live for granted. For example, I know people who have lived in Arizona for thirty years and have never been to the Grand Canyon. I bet there are those who have grown up in Hawaii and spent no time at the beach.
Betty and I have lived in Arizona for 28 years, the last eleven of which we have been enjoying our satisfying retirement. So, it is not because we haven't had the time, it just that we stopped looking for things in the Phoenix area that might be fun and interesting.
But, within the last several months we found two places and events that have existed for years that are within thirty minutes of our home...that we have never experienced before.
You can probably guess that Betty took her camera and took hundreds of photos. Here are just a few to give you a visual treat:
A few months ago we went to something quite a bit more lively than the Friendship Gardens: The Burning Bush Drum Circle. The first Friday of each month, a group of drummers gather in a parking lot in a Phoenix neighborhood and pound away for the next two hours.
Actually, the sound is much more than just the rhythmic beating of drums. All sorts of hand percussion instruments are brought. It is not unusual to hear flutes, a didgeridoo, shakers, bells, and tambourines play together. Add to that a belly dancer or two, a young lady playing finger cymbals, a few brave young men twirling flaming sticks, a bon fire and a special evening takes place.
On some nights up to sixty drummers appear, some as young as twelve, others probably in their late 70's. The clothing styles range from 60's tie-dyed T-shirts and dreadlocks, to Docker pants and polo shirts. Most bring folding chairs or stools as they hover over beautifully decorated African drums.
This past Friday night we discovered that this monthly event was moving to a downtown art gallery now open in an old ice house building. We decided to experience the drum circle again in this new location. While the crowds were smaller, the drummers were just as enthusiastic.
Frankly, this type of event is not what one normally expects to find in Phoenix. Known more for its expensive resorts and 300 golf courses, the metropolitan area has not been particularly diverse in its cultural offerings. Over the last few years that has begun to change as entrepreneurs take over old warehouses or industrial buildings and convert them into artist lofts, galleries, and small restaurants. Once almost a ghost town at night, downtown Phoenix has become much more urban in its feel. Adding the Burnish Bush Drum Circle is one small step in the right direction.
Again, here are some photos from Friday night to help you get a sense for the Burning Bush Drum Circle and art show:
|Betty becomes part of the show!|
A video sample from last May. Not the best quality but you get the idea.
|Inside the gallery|
|More from inside the art exhibit|
I am sure there are dozens of other hidden joys that are waiting for us to discover them. Last year Betty and I found a free, weekly, open mic music night at the Tempe Art Museum. Who knew?